Old designers sure knew how to make clothes. Even 50 or 60 years later, dresses drape as if scientifically created to make women beautiful. Halston, Pucci, Gucci, and Gaultier are all philosophers of form. The only thing is, the women back then were a lot smaller. So a size 8 in vintage clothes is really more like a size 4 in this supersized era. But regardless, if you want to dress like you're living in black-and-white glamour, Sasparilla is the place. From the closets of rich old (or deceased) women come vintage and designer dresses, shirts, jackets, pants, shoes, bags, jewelry, and luggage, priced from about $25 to $500. The store also will buy your vintage duds. Hours noon to 10:00 p.m.

Queen Goddess, owner of the Happy 2 B Nappy Boutique, can fix the limpest white boy's tresses into a nappy dreadlocked crown worthy of a prophet. She uses her own secret concoction of shea butter, aloe, herbs, and oils to nurture the hair and scalps of her clients while forming the ragamuffin locks they dream of. With her intricate finger work, Queen revives veteran dreads' long-neglected tassels into fabulous works of art, enhanced with shells and beads. She says her objective in the heart of Liberty City's fast-redeveloping area is to uplift locals with a rasta blast of beauty straight from the heart of Africa.

Queen Goddess, owner of the Happy 2 B Nappy Boutique, can fix the limpest white boy's tresses into a nappy dreadlocked crown worthy of a prophet. She uses her own secret concoction of shea butter, aloe, herbs, and oils to nurture the hair and scalps of her clients while forming the ragamuffin locks they dream of. With her intricate finger work, Queen revives veteran dreads' long-neglected tassels into fabulous works of art, enhanced with shells and beads. She says her objective in the heart of Liberty City's fast-redeveloping area is to uplift locals with a rasta blast of beauty straight from the heart of Africa.

This particular outpost of the national chain is housed in the space formerly occupied by a Publix -- the giant, upside-down chevron sign still marks the entrance -- and its vast stock takes advantage of an uncluttered, well-lit ambiance not generally found in granola world. Organic produce and vegan proteins are available as well as desserts, free-range beef, wines without sulfites, and cheeses from around the world. Wild Oats has an ample, respectable produce aisle, bulk pastas, rices, spices and herbs, and icy cases filled with raw ahi tuna and scallops, so the discerning, health-minded cook will be pleased. But this store is at its most usefully mind-boggling for the kitchen-impaired who nonetheless eschew fast food: A deli is jammed with ready-to-eat meatless tamales, tofu salads, and curried turkey. Grab-and-go whole grain sandwiches are stacked high with romaine lettuce, sprouts, and marinated portobellos. Spinach lasagna is available for purchase by the pan or by the slice. Beyond the capacity to keep the larder from getting low, Wild Oats offers a cornucopia of cruelty-free (read: unlike Procter & Gamble, the eyes of rabbits are not used as test tubes for these products) cleaning and bathing lines, from Burt's Bees to Avalon Organics. Finally don't miss out on snacks and meals for the pets. Wild Oats is one of the few places in Florida to purchase Spot's Stew, a canned food for both dogs and cats that can tempt the pickiest pup or most toothless old cat into a good, and healthy, repast.

This particular outpost of the national chain is housed in the space formerly occupied by a Publix -- the giant, upside-down chevron sign still marks the entrance -- and its vast stock takes advantage of an uncluttered, well-lit ambiance not generally found in granola world. Organic produce and vegan proteins are available as well as desserts, free-range beef, wines without sulfites, and cheeses from around the world. Wild Oats has an ample, respectable produce aisle, bulk pastas, rices, spices and herbs, and icy cases filled with raw ahi tuna and scallops, so the discerning, health-minded cook will be pleased. But this store is at its most usefully mind-boggling for the kitchen-impaired who nonetheless eschew fast food: A deli is jammed with ready-to-eat meatless tamales, tofu salads, and curried turkey. Grab-and-go whole grain sandwiches are stacked high with romaine lettuce, sprouts, and marinated portobellos. Spinach lasagna is available for purchase by the pan or by the slice. Beyond the capacity to keep the larder from getting low, Wild Oats offers a cornucopia of cruelty-free (read: unlike Procter & Gamble, the eyes of rabbits are not used as test tubes for these products) cleaning and bathing lines, from Burt's Bees to Avalon Organics. Finally don't miss out on snacks and meals for the pets. Wild Oats is one of the few places in Florida to purchase Spot's Stew, a canned food for both dogs and cats that can tempt the pickiest pup or most toothless old cat into a good, and healthy, repast.

For serious cinephiles looking to feed their home video jones, there have always been only two choices. Those living in the Coral Gables area flocked to Lion Video (thankfully resuscitated after some financial troubles), while Miami Beach-ers hit New Concept Video. For those residing somewhere between the two, New Concept gets our nod for remembering that in a world of satellite television, hundreds of new cable channels, and the flowering of video on demand, it's the hunt for obscurities and underground faves that makes us leave our homes. Looking for Lord of the Rings? Sure, Blockbuster has that as well, but just try finding the bulk of New Concept's sprawling collection of gay-themed flicks there. Likewise for this store's separate room of adult videos -- for both gay and straight tastes. We could go on: Wowed by Denys Arcand's scathing take on baby boomer intellectuals in The Barbarian Invasions when it played theaters this past winter? Try renting a copy of his 1986 film The Decline of the American Empire, featuring those same characters in their preening prime. It's out of print, and yet to hit DVD, but you can still find a VHS copy here. How about the hilarious BBC series The Office, or the wryly ahead-of-its-time HBO series The Larry Sanders Show? Both are at New Concept. But don't take our word for it -- Beach residents are clearly voting with their wallets. At a time when mom-and-pop video shops are increasingly beleaguered, New Concept has opened up a second DVD-only location on West Avenue. That's the kind of commercial expansion we'll gladly give a thumbs-up to.

For serious cinephiles looking to feed their home video jones, there have always been only two choices. Those living in the Coral Gables area flocked to Lion Video (thankfully resuscitated after some financial troubles), while Miami Beach-ers hit New Concept Video. For those residing somewhere between the two, New Concept gets our nod for remembering that in a world of satellite television, hundreds of new cable channels, and the flowering of video on demand, it's the hunt for obscurities and underground faves that makes us leave our homes. Looking for Lord of the Rings? Sure, Blockbuster has that as well, but just try finding the bulk of New Concept's sprawling collection of gay-themed flicks there. Likewise for this store's separate room of adult videos -- for both gay and straight tastes. We could go on: Wowed by Denys Arcand's scathing take on baby boomer intellectuals in The Barbarian Invasions when it played theaters this past winter? Try renting a copy of his 1986 film The Decline of the American Empire, featuring those same characters in their preening prime. It's out of print, and yet to hit DVD, but you can still find a VHS copy here. How about the hilarious BBC series The Office, or the wryly ahead-of-its-time HBO series The Larry Sanders Show? Both are at New Concept. But don't take our word for it -- Beach residents are clearly voting with their wallets. At a time when mom-and-pop video shops are increasingly beleaguered, New Concept has opened up a second DVD-only location on West Avenue. That's the kind of commercial expansion we'll gladly give a thumbs-up to.

Small and unassuming (and totally outdoors), Ruben's flower stand is a landmark in the rapidly changing blood frenzy known as Coconut Grove real estate development. A tranquil, colorful oasis on the corner of Bird Avenue and Indiana Street (and across diagonally and directly from two looming condo monstrosities), the gentlemen at Ruben's are friendly, even courtly. Beyond that, their selection of fresh blooms and exotic botanical wonders -- sprays of ginger from Ecuador, tulips bursting with color that seem to have been ripped from the beds of the Vondelpark -- is eye-popping. Daffodils in November? Violets in May? No problem. Plus, you can fill every room of your (modest, old-Grove bungalow-style) home with flowers from Ruben's for less than the price of a tank of gas. Bunches of tulips are six dollars, and a dozen roses will set you back only ten.

Small and unassuming (and totally outdoors), Ruben's flower stand is a landmark in the rapidly changing blood frenzy known as Coconut Grove real estate development. A tranquil, colorful oasis on the corner of Bird Avenue and Indiana Street (and across diagonally and directly from two looming condo monstrosities), the gentlemen at Ruben's are friendly, even courtly. Beyond that, their selection of fresh blooms and exotic botanical wonders -- sprays of ginger from Ecuador, tulips bursting with color that seem to have been ripped from the beds of the Vondelpark -- is eye-popping. Daffodils in November? Violets in May? No problem. Plus, you can fill every room of your (modest, old-Grove bungalow-style) home with flowers from Ruben's for less than the price of a tank of gas. Bunches of tulips are six dollars, and a dozen roses will set you back only ten.

Visiting film crews and local television commercial producers alike know Prop Central as their one-stop shop for period costumes. Every Halloween, however, Prop Central throws open its doors to the general public, outfitting a steady stream of firemen, marines, pirates, Twenties-styled flappers, dark-suited gangsters, bell bottom-clad hippies, and enough platform shoe-sporting, wide-lapel-wearing pimps to make you seriously question all the talk of South Beach's emerging "maturity." Indeed it's hard to tell who's having more fun dashing in and out of the dressing rooms here -- the straight-laced businessman who suddenly emerges as the imposing leatherman (sorry, make that "motorcycle enthusiast") or the enthused staff, whipping through their racks of clothing and accessories to help the newest member of the Village People realize his previously hidden dream.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®